This is definitely the type of story that only comes from Hollywood romantic/spy thrillers, only this one is actually true: It started out as forbidden love during World War II between a Scottish teenager and a Russian soldier that turned into an incredible discovery stashed away for 55 years.
Dominic Currie’s father was the Russian soldier by the name of Nicolai Vladimirovich who was seeing Dominic’s mother, Annette, who ended up pregnant by Nicolai in Poland at age 19. Together, Nicolai and Annette, knew they could never be together so, Nicolai gave Annette this painting realizing she would face hardship as a single mother.
Unbeknownst to Annette, this wasn’t just any ordinary painting, it was a painting by the one and only, Pablo Picasso. She found herself unable to part with the painting and hid it in a suitcase for nearly half a century until Mr. Currie, 58, said: “I saw a roll of cloth and thought that was the actual painting then realized there was a canvas rolled up inside. My son and I slowly opened it up and I saw a juggle of cubes and squares and thought: ‘What the hell is this?’ We had to tease it open because it had been curled up for decades.” That’s when Mr. Curie realized Picasso’s signature on the bottom right-hand corner of the canvas.
The signature on the painting
Mr Currie said: “I wouldn’t have thought that my mum was knowledgeable about art. She never discussed art, as far as I know. The name Picasso wouldn’t have registered.”“Maybe the Russian explained what it was but when she looked at it she thought it was the ugliest thing she had seen in her life. She totally dismissed it. Saying that, she never threw it out.”
In the 1960s Nicolai and Annette’s relationship fizzled out and she went on to marry another man. Mr. Currie learned the identity of his Russian father in 1998 – two years before his mother had passed away. Annette and Nicolai wrote regularly before they lost touch.
She even took occasional trips to the other side of the Iron Curtain. It is believed that on one of these trips, Annette received the painting for Nicolai. He said: “If my painting is genuine, my father obviously wanted to look after me and my mother well. For that I’d love to shake his hand, I’d love to meet him.”
Picasso’s famous Cubist portrait (right), compared to the newly found one (left)